Criminal trespass in Florida can be a very serious crime which can result in fines, jail time, probation, and having a permanent criminal record which can affect someone’s ability to get a job, rent an apartment, and receive financial aid.
If you have been charged with criminal trespass, contact a Florida trespassing lawyer to review your situation. Let an experienced criminal defense attorney determine what legal defenses you may have and evaluate which legal options make the most sense for you.
How Does Florida Define Criminal Trespass?
According to Florida Statutes Section 810.08, et seq, criminal trespass is the willful entry into (or remaining on) a property without the express or implied permission of the owner.
Florida recognizes two specific types of trespass, trespass in a structure or conveyance, and trespass on property other than a structure or conveyance.
Trespass in a Structure or Conveyance
The crime of trespass in a structure or conveyance occurs when a person willfully enters or remains in any structure (such as a building or dwelling) or conveyance without being authorized. It also applies to situations when a person had been authorized or licensed to be on the property, but was told to leave and remained anyway.
This is generally considered a second-degree misdemeanor which can result in spending up to 60 days in jail. However, it can be elevated to a first-degree misdemeanor (which can result in spending up to one year in jail) when someone else is present during the trespass or to a third-degree felony (which can result in spending up to five years in prison) when a trespasser is armed with a firearm or dangerous weapon.
Trespass on Property Other Than a Structure or Conveyance
Trespass on property other than a structure or conveyance occurs when a person willfully enters (or remains in) any property other than a structure or conveyance without being authorized, licensed, or invited.
This is generally considered a first-degree misdemeanor which can result in spending up to one year in jail. However, it can be elevated to a third-degree felony (which can result in spending up to five years in prison) when a trespasser is armed with a firearm or dangerous weapon.
How Must the Prosecution Prove Trespassing?
To be convicted of Florida trespassing offenses, the prosecution must generally prove that the trespass was willful, in other words, that the trespasser knew they were trespassing.
In some situations, a trespasser may have thought they had an implied invitation to remain on the property or they were not specifically told to leave. Courts will look at the facts and circumstances surrounding the situation and determine what a reasonable person would have thought in the situation.
There are many legal defenses to Florida trespassing charges, including:
- No communication to leave the property
- Lack of intent
- Lack of notice or improper notice
- Express or implied invitations to enter or remain
- Withdrawing the request to leave
An experienced Florida trespassing lawyer can determine whether someone was trespassing on a property and what legal defenses might apply to the situation.
Florida Trespassing Charges Should Be Taken Seriously
Florida trespassing charges should always be taken seriously as convictions can have significant consequences and affect the rest of your life. Contact a Florida trespassing lawyer to find out whether there is a way to have the charges against you dropped or mitigated through a plea bargain.